Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 20 December 2008

The Engadine - Switzerland

2001EngadineUinaSchlucht We've been a bit quiet recently. 

Not because we've been away.  We've just been under the weather and busy with a variety of things of absolutely no interest to our readers.  During one of our jobs - sorting the vast 'tray' of 1500 emails that has accumulated since our New Zealand trip, many months ago, I've come across a few items that are far more enticing than 'December in Timperley'.

For example, one of our new friends from the TGO Challenge - 'The Eccentric Austrian' ('Eccentric' covers a multitude of characteristics that only readers of our TGO Challenge report will appreciate), Markus, reported as follows on one of his subsequent activities:

"At the end of July we undertook a three day biking trip across some great mountains in the Swiss Engadine. A walker's and biker's paradise. We´ll come across some sections of this superb tour again on our Transalp ride. Please, find some photos of this trip in the attachment."

The Engadine may present Sue and me with a bit of a problem regarding our ongoing 'Italian Border Route' walk.  We will reach the area in 2009 or 2010, but the 'ethic' of our route is that it stays mainly in Italy.  We may therefore be missing this superb area of Switzerland that we not yet visited.  That's despite my having been the proud owner of 'Walks in the Engadine' by Kev Reynolds, since 1991!

Perhaps a circular walk will have to be devised.

Markus and his friends clearly enjoyed their bike ride.  The trail shown at the head of this posting looks (if they weren't walking! - do we have an Austrian wimp?) fairly challenging, and the images below give the impression of high level fun.  The track pictured above looks to me to be similar to Sentiero Orsi that links the Tuckett and Pedrotti huts in the Brenta Dolomites - the path nicknamed 'The Lower Cycle Track'.

Anyway, this has added a little brightness to a dull Saturday afternoon in Timperley.  Thank you Markus - I hope you don't mind me using your pictures, and I look forward to hearing more about the 'Transalp' ride (I've admired again the images you kindly sent, and I may be tempted to reproduce them if you can provide a short report...) 2002EngadinBochettaForcola 2003EngadinBochettaPedenolo For those who haven't been there, I can recommend the Brenta Dolomites, where Molveno is a delightful base.  The Engadine also looks as if it is a 'must go' area.  We would like to be able to report from there at first hand in the not too distant future.

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Sunday 14 December 2008 - A Christmas Bimble

1404group The Vanilla Kitchen Coffee Shop in Tideswell provided welcome refreshment for the crushed passengers of the small car after the winding roads from Manchester.  Gary and Sue were already installed, and we enjoyed a leisurely sojourn here before heading down to Tideswell Dale Picnic Site.

Here the occupants of a fleet of vehicles that had arrived from places as far flung as Louth and Crosby were milling around exchanging Christmas cards and noshing Nallo Lady's chocolate caramel shortbread.

Graham and Tove - who had just about the shortest journey - were inexplicably missing, so we paused briefly before setting off without them on a dull, overcast day.  Thankfully it was dry and calm, so not at all bad for this sociable outing.

Litton Mill has now been renovated and after years of looking derelict it now appears occupied and presentable, despite a large piece of plant still lingering outside.

Beyond here Andrew's gloomy prediction of a flooded path at Cressbrook seemed to come true when we met another group returning along the path, shaking their heads despondently.  So we decided not to join the ducks, and headed along the alternative higher path to Cressbrook, where another mill has been converted into apartments.  These have a much better outlook than those at Litton.  There's a café here, but today it looked shut for the winter.  The path was indeed a bit flooded, but it looked quite navigable for those with decent boots.

It's many years since I had seen so much water here, but I suppose it did rain yesterday.  Anyway, we were soon up on the old railway line that to Ruskin's dismay* provided a link between Buxton and Bakewell.  I recall the days before the tunnels hereabouts were blocked - they were fun to walk through, and perhaps that's why we didn't notice the flooded river in those days!1402monsalhead Upperdale from Monsal Head

It took us less than an hour and a half to reach the sanctity of the Longstone Restaurant at Monsal Head Hotel by soon after noon.  Sue and Phil were waiting, shivering in the cold air, both suffering from ailments that had confined them to bed for the morning.  We installed ourselves at the two long tables prepared by the staff.  Three people were missing, but their food had been ordered and was being cooked, so Ken (who had turned up 'on spec') was faced with the decision as to which of the three meals he should eat, and the rest of us were anticipating a share of the other two.

Drinks were ordered and crackers were pulled as our leisurely lunch commenced.  The door burst open and a red-faced, puffed out, soggy duo entered the fray and claimed their places at the table.  Graham and Tove had got lost on their short journey to the departure point.  This used to happen a lot when Graham had affairs with a string of Marilyns, but after carousing with 1524 of these ladies to date, he seems to have run out of girls with that name in England and has moved on to bagging Norwegian Toves.  Fearful of missing their meals, the soggy pair had waded through the flooded river at Cressbrook, so as I thought - it wasn't really all that bad despite Andrew's woeful prediction.

[This won't stop Andrew, still grumpy from nearly witnessing recent horrific events at the City of Manchester Stadium, asserting that he was right and I was wrong!]

The food and service was excellent and we enjoyed the best part of 2½ hours in the warmth of the restaurant.  Some water pistols discovered in the crackers provided entertainment for the more intellectually challenged within this diverse group.  It had been a good turnout of 19 for the traditional Christmasy get together.

1403lunch Historically a small group of friends would assemble on this day in the Stable Bar next door and plan the next year's activities so that they could be broadcast by way of Christmas card enclosures.  Remember those?  But times move on, and the internet can be deployed to aid with planning, so whilst plans for 2009 were discussed, the actual 'programme' doesn't need to go out with the cards and can be communicated by email and web page, and even here.  [This walk is the last on the current programme, so suggestions for 2009 will be gratefully received.]

Anyway, by the time we left at around 2.30, with Sue and Phil adjourning to their sick bed and Graham and Tove now in tow, the light was already beginning to fade.  But not enough to prevent a group photo by the weir in Monsal Dale (see above).

Ambling back to Tideswell via Brushfield was fairly intuitive, and the closest we got to viewing a map today was the minute screen on Paul's flashy GPS enabled mobile phone.  (I'm only jealous!)

Even that was not needed though, and despite a pause for tea, etc in High Dale, we managed to get back to the cars (except Graham and Tove - they are still looking for theirs as far as we know) before 5 pm, without the need for torches, which only a couple of us had with us anyway....

So ended an excellent and most sociable little excursion.  Thank you everyone for coming, thank you for paying for your food, etc so efficiently, apologies for any minor errors in the above account (feel free to comment), and we hope to see you all again soon, after all your various Christmas trips to Kilimanjaro, Ayres Rock, Liverpool Bay, Bonsall, and a few more mundane destinations....

Here's a short slideshow - just 15 images from this overcast day.  Thank you to Jenny for providing most of them.

Shown below is an overview of the route - about 14 km with 700 metres ascent, and strolled on this day in less than 4 hours at a very amiable pace.1401route *"There was a rocky valley between Buxton and Bakewell, once upon a time as divine as the Vale of Tempe; you might have seen the Gods there morning and evening - Apollo and all the sweet muses of the light - walking in fair procession on the lawns of it, and to and fro among the pinnacles of its crags. You cared neither for Gods nor cash (which you did not know the way to get) you thought you could get it by what the Times calls 'Railway Enterprise'. You enterprised a railroad through the valley - you blasted its rocks away, heaped thousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The valley is gone and the Gods with it, and now every fool in Buxton can be at Bakewell in half an hour and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton; which you think a lucrative process of exchange - you fools everywhere."